New NBA agreement to provide for off-season drug test

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A new collective bargaining agreement is currently under process for the NBA, apparently paving the way for more drug tests, including the possibility of blood testing for human growth hormone.

The players have expressed their agreement to undergo more drug testing in the form of screening for performance-enhancing drugs during the off-season.

Billy Hunter, executive director of the players’ union, released a memo on Wednesday to the players, with details of drug-testing requirements for performance-enhancers, along with other amendments to the new labor deal. The memo also contained recommendations to ratify the agreement.

The provision for testing for human growth hormones were not as clear, with the memo indicating that the joint committee of the NBA and NBPA will take the possibility of such a testing program into study.

Mike Bass, spokesman to the NBA, revealed that both sides expressed their interest and approval of blood testing for HGH, although the process has yet to be validated by a committee of neutral experts. Once the league and the players are in agreement regarding the reliability of the HGH test, it could very well be implemented immediately.

The new collective bargaining agreement being drafted for the NBA also has provisions for tests for steroids, and HGH testing is currently only mentioned as a possibility.

HGH testing was recently approved by Major League Baseball, along with its players, scheduled for spring training. The NFL also included provision for HGH testing this season, pending approval by the NFLPA.

Under the previous arrangement, during the July-September off-season, the NBA did not require its players to undergo testing. With the amendment to drug testing laws, players could now be tested up to two times in the off-season. This testing would not include substances like marijuana, though.

The 10-year deal proposed for the new collective bargaining agreement had votes begun on Wednesday, with players voting electronically. The Board of Governors of the NBA will meet in New York on Thursday, and they are expected to ratify the contract as well as a new plan for revenue-sharing. Friday will see training camps along with free-agent signings taking place.

The NBA also revealed an abbreviated schedule of 66 games for the regular season, starting on December 25.

The deal allows players 51.2% of all basketball-related income during the season, with future splits running between 49 and 51 percent. The league had $4.3 billion revenues last season, with the players receiving 57% of basketball-related income.

Of course, not all the issues were confirmed. HGH testing has yet to see committees being formed by the league and the players association, along with rules in the workplace as well as draft-related issues, including age limits.

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